The Role of Non-Whites in the South African Defence Force

  • C.J. Nöthling SADF Information Bureau
  • L. Steyn SADF Information Bureau
Keywords: Declaration of War in 1914, military service was extended to include Blacks and Indians, British employed Coloured soldiers, SA Cape Corps


As long ago as 1700, when the Cape of Good Hope was still a small settlement ruled by the Dutch East India Company, Coloureds were subject to the same military duties as Europeans. It was, however, a foreign war that caused the establishment of the first Pandour regiment in 1781. They comprised a force under white officers that fought against the British prior to the occupation of the Cape in 1795. Between the years 1795-1803 the British employed Coloured soldiers; they became known as the Cape Corps after the second British occupation in 1806. During the first period of British rule Coloured soldiers received a weekly pay of sixpence (sterling) to buy tobacco and were entitled to the same rations and drinks as British troops. During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) Coloureds were used on both sides as drivers, servants and scouts.
How to Cite
Nöthling, C., & Steyn, L. (2012). The Role of Non-Whites in the South African Defence Force. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 16(2).